100 people were evacuated from their homes as the result of a wildfire that overtook the hills in Santa Barbara near Highway 154, the same region where a similar fire scorched some 550 homes in 1990.
According to a news line by the Santa Barbara Fire Department, the Lookout Fire, as it was named by officials, began at 7:45 a.m. as multiple personnel including Santa Barbara County Fire, Santa Barbara City Fire, Montecito Fire, California Highway Patrol and the Sherriff’s Office responded to the scene. Southern California Edison also arrived to handle live power lines that were shut down as a result of the fire.
According to Los Padres National Forest Service spokesperson Andrew Madsen, the flames posed a danger to several residents but were progressing slowly.
“We’ve initiated a full response,” Madsen said. “Every resource at our disposal is either en route or on scene. To contain the fire, we have individuals that will cut out containment lines, meaning we have to cut a line around the entire fire so that it doesn’t go any further.”
Santa Barbara Fire Department Captain David Sadecki said roughly 300 people worked to contain the blaze and seven helicopters, as well as seven air tankers had been sent into action. Sadecki updated the SBFD news line as the fire progressed.
At approximately 12:02 p.m., Sadecki said the fire had made its way into rocky terrain, causing concern that it may be further pushed by afternoon climate conditions.
“The fire is moving in the Northeastern direction; it is running into rocky areas. The fire is laying down due to the lack of vegetation or fuel at the top of the slope,” Sadecki said. “The fire is backing, but the concern is that the fire will move from a slow-burning fire to a wind-driven one when the afternoon winds change.”
As of 5 p.m., although the cause of the fire was still under investigation, mandatory evacuation orders regarding 40 different homes had been lifted and Highway 154 was reopened, with containment of fire estimated to be at about 45 percent.